MQT3001 wrote:Also, Chicago has become more efficient because there are far fewer RRs around.
That was so funny I almost fell off my stool. Big corporations are anything but more 'efficient'.
The loose car load stuff is still getting classified in Chicago once or twice. Yes, intermodal *might* run through, but that is stuff that probably wouldn't be moving via train across Lake Michigan anyway. Plus, I'd wager that most cars now-a-days travel a lot further distances between origin and destination. You aren't having all the smaller customers, in every little town. Larger distribution networks, fed from larger facilities.
What's helped Chicago congestion more than anything is shifting traffic away from it. Salem Gateway on CSX to the UP, and the St. Louis Gateway to some extent. The UP is getting sand out of Michigan and Illinois via Avon that is going to Salem to be interchanged, and not Chicago. CN interchanges a lot of traffic at Memphis, and even a trickle at Effingham, IL. That being said, a lot of traffic still goes via Chicago because of the good connections, established service lanes, etc. St Louis *could* see more traffic, but the general consensus is that the physical plant wouldn't be able to handle it.
"The Iron Horse and the Windy City" is a good read. Explains how Chicago became a rail mecca, almost on accident, and how efforts to by-pass it largely met with failure. TPW, Kankakee Belt, and the Car Ferries.
Practice Safe CSX